Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Fave Five - Last Chance Edition

First and foremost, I'm giving everyone one last chance (until 5 PM tonight) to enter Wednesday's 200th post giveaway.  You'll just have to go on over and see what the prize is (because you need the visuals to get the real fun of it). 

And now, Friday's Fave Five:

1. Accidental victories. A couple months ago, I came up with a very efficient way of doing some stuff for work which literally saved me days of tedium.  I shared it with my team, and they weren't really interested in learning the method because they were too busy.  No big.  Yesterday, the IT crew did some stuff behind the scenes that ended up breaking a lot of our files, translating to a HUGE overhaul of everything and some very panicked emails, particularly about my files. Thing is, the method I'd come up with had accounted for this kind of issue, so where it could have taken DAYS to fix everything, it took me 15 minutes.  At the risk of gloating too much (and having someone who may have chosen not to employ my method read thing), I'll leave it with a simple "booya" and move on.  I'll leave the victory dance to your imagination.

2. Kini.  I swear, this dog is on my list every week.  Right now, she's curled up on the treadmill (again), cuddling with her bone.  Dogs are so weird.  This week, we hit a milestone...her first buried bone!  I wasn't there for it, but MOTU says she buried it then immediately missed it and dug it up to carry it around the yard some more.  That's our puppy. 

3. Generosity.  I finally finished the thank you notes from the wedding last weekend.  It still blows me away that we needed over 70 thank you notes...even people who barely knew us (some who didn't even know us and were friends of our parents) gave us way more than we expected them to (and my expectation was that if they were coming to celebrate with us, that was gift enough)!  We are blessed.

4. Spin. I went to 2 spin classes this week, and while the first one was pretty terrible (sorry, but if it would fit in on a station called "The Eagle", it's not workout music.  Sailing Away was my breaking point...I literally walked out it was so terrible) the second one (last night) was AWESOME!!  The music was great (Time Warp, techno remix of My Heart Will Go On, etc.) and the workout was NUTS.  I was feeling fantastic and pushed hard.  I am in a little bit of pain today, and that's awesome. This weekend is Boston Balance, and I'm taking 5 classes...that's 7.5 hours of working out (3 classes are spin).  Sunday is going to be a long day, but so worth it.

5. Speaking of pain, my upper body is hurting too, because for the first time in a long time, we went rock climbing this week. I'm pretty bad at it now, and my arms/back/shoulders are in pretty sad shape, but it felt so good to pull some plastic.  Especially when I ended up showing up one of MOTU's friends on one of the routes.  :-)  Oops. 

The weather here has been great...warm and sunny most of the week (minus the creepy fog that settled in on Wednesday night), and overall it's been a great week.  I hope everyone else had a fabulous one too! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I think...

...this girl may have just inspired me to make a quilt with a mustache. Everyone seems to be doing mustaches and TRexes lately.  I think my designs need to get way funkier, and soon. Stay tuned.

Also, this is my 200th post.  I feel like some kind of giveaway is in order, but I'm not sure what.  Let me think on it...if I get more than 5 comments on this post (has to be on the post, not on FB sorry), I'm thinking maybe some mustachioed (wow, that's seriously a word??) placemats are in order.  Because seriously, who doesn't need facial hair looking back at them when their plate gets taken away?  Set of 4, up for grabs, pending 5 comments ON THIS POST.


I forgot to mention when this closes, duh.  It closes when I find something interesting enough to write about in another post, so likely sometime tomorrow night or Friday morning. Also, if you're someone I don't know personally, please make sure to include some way for me to contact you (a reply-to email address is fine - check your Google settings).  Winner to be selected by random number generator.


Couple quick teaser pics of the placemats.  How can you resist a moustache on lemons??
 And a cute polka-dotted backing to boot!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Saved a Horse

I can't  believe I never posted pictures of this finish!  I sent this off to Alishia in July, but didn't post then because she didn't know I'd sent it...then forgot to post!  (Or at least forgot to post with correct tagging...)

Anyway, here's the final outcome of Alishia's Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy quilt:

To make the label, I cut a piece of the binding material and turned it backwards.  Maybe I need to make an "inside out" quilt...hmm...
For now, I'll stick with traditional.  First block, done.  Not too shabby, huh?  :-) Since the sashing will be some variant of weathered maroon, I'm calling this one "Colonial Home".

Monday, October 25, 2010

Shop News

Just a quick update before spin class...if you're on facebook (and for whatever reason are following this blog but are NOT friends with me...thank you!!), you can now find Tex|Everlasting on there!  That's right kids, I'm getting hip with the times.  I'm also on Twitter. Not that either site is particularly interesting right now, but I'm working on it!  I got a fun idea for some placemats this morning that I'm hoping to try out soon. 

Anyway!  Go Like the shop, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and neighbors that the cold is coming and the best cure is a handmade quilt! 

Design (Table space right in front of my sewing machine) Wall Monday

So last night I learned something very important about marriage that no one told me before I said "I do".  Apparently, somewhere in what the deacon was mumbling, he must have said, "do you, Kathryn, agree to relinquish all furniture building abilities to your husband such that you so much as touching a piece of furniture being built will render it completely useless?"  Of course, in the heat of the moment I said "I do!" and have thus lost all ability to assemble furniture.  So while MOTU was gently pushing me away from "helping" with this project:

I was working on this gem:
Finally, the start of OUR quilt!  MOTU had requested a "traditional" block design for our bed quilt months ago, and I've been so wrapped up in throwing together simple quilts that I just haven't even started on ours.  Until this weekend!  I got the following quilt done (and up for sale on Etsy) so now I have time to work on our quilt.  I can't promise I'll get it all done in one fell swoop, but here's hoping at least the triangles go together quickly.  I've already got one shortcut for making them a little nicer to deal with...we'll see what else I can come up with.
Here's Rag Train, all finished!

I take that back...mostly finished.  I need to continue fraying the back side (hence no pictures yet), but that'll be one night in front of the TV and then done. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Fave Five - Frozen Toes Edition

With a puppy happily snoring on my treadmill next to me, it's hard not to think of happy things.  So without much of an introduction, here's this week's Friday Fave Five.

1. Feeling generally healthy.  A couple weeks ago I decided no more excuses, I'm kicking the Diet Coke habit for good. And I have!  Cold turkey!  I went from 3-4 20oz bottles a day to none!  I drink only water  now (and a glass of wine or beer at night when I'm keeps me honest lol) and I've found myself making better food choices as a result...every time I think "hmm, maybe I'll just grab some drive through" I realize the only drink choices are sodas, so if I want to eat there I'd have to drink soda...and I don't want soda so I opt for something healthier (even if it's just going to the salad bar at the grocery store next to the Taco Bell.)  I feel better, I've ended up working out more (not a lot, just 10 minutes here and there), and guess what?  I've dropped 4 lbs!  Guess I'll keep going with this no soda thing.  :-) 

2. On the heels of that, I'm heading towards having a new (mildly lucrative) hobby!  I signed up to  get certified to be a spin instructor! In a couple weeks, I'll spend a full day learning how to teach spin classes, then will head right on over to my gym and demand they give me a microphone and an iPod jack.  Or something like that.  :-)  I'm already making up playlists...cannot wait!

3. On a completely unrelated note, I shipped my first commissioned quilt this week!  Those of you who follow this blog regularly are probably sick of hearing about it, but I'm still reeling over the fact that someone actually requested (and paid for) my creativity!  I sent the woman pictures while it was in progress, and she said her son wouldn't let her close the window because he wanted to keep looking at's that for a glowing endorsement??  I've since moved on to another design that I'm very excited about and that I've already posted as a "coming soon!" in my etsy shop.  I'm hoping to have it done by the end of the weekend, pending thank you notes. 

4. Speaking of which, I always forget that the weekend previous counts towards this Friday's Fave Five!  Working appliances!!!  MOTU's dad generously bought us a new washer/dryer set for a wedding gift, and I cannot express enough how wonderful it is to have a functional dryer!  Seriously, there's a mountain of CLEAN laundry in the bedroom that I haven't gotten around to folding the worst part of laundry, don't you think?  I can't stop running loads though!  It's so delightful to have them come out clean and dry the FIRST time!!  I won't even start about how glorious it is to have a dishwasher!!!  (This could count as 3 separate faves if I let them!)

5. Simple, yummy, unusual food.  This week has been Nicaraguan week over on my cooking blog, and while I've only made 2 nights' worth of dinners (we've been munching on leftovers of both the rest of the week) they've been super quick and easy, and super yummy.  Tomorrow night I'm attempting flan and stew.  Wish me luck.  :-)  Next week is Greek week...anyone got any good recipes (and/or want to join me for the challenge?)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Structured Chaos

So this quilt is a little tricky.  I have this thing about having the same fabrics sitting next to each other in this style of quilt, so first fabrics of the train blocks can't touch. Then, fabrics of the borders can't touch.  Diagonal is ok, but not in any kind of pattern, and not more than 2 or 3 in a row, tops.  Then, the border needs to contrast with the light block = dark border, bright block = light border, etc.  So there's a lot going on here...sort of like the whole "spend 2 hours each morning to look like you have bedhead" thing.  I'm trying really hard to make it look like I'm not trying.  :-)

That said, after I put these blocks together last night, I did a bunch more cutting and now have a pretty little stack of 1x5.5 or 6.5 inch strips just waiting to get their time to shine. 

And just for kicks, here's the lineup of quilts that used the fabrics first, from that top line (L-R):
Trains & Tractors/plaid couch/Save a Horse/Save a Horse/Save a Horse/plaid couch/Just His Size

I've got scraps from the complicated quilt, Abbey's Road, Mai's Ugly Quilt, and a couple of QFK quilts in the "to be cut" heap as well.  I'm trying to keep them relatively manly, so no pinks or purples (though lord knows I have enough of those!)  Oranges are ok though.

And on that note, I must leave my haven and head in to work.  Sigh.  :-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Godspeed, Little Quilt

And just like that, he's gone.  My first commissioned quilt, on its way to the arms of 2 little boys and their mom.  *sigh*  I won't lie, it feels a little like having turned in a final exam that I'm pretty sure I did well on, but I'm still not 100% sure I got an A.  I hope they like it.  I had a lot of fun making it.

We had a little outdoor photoshoot yesterday:

This one is upside-down because that was how I could get the picture. 
The artsy ruffled shot
The back
My label!  How nifty is that??  It's technically an iron-on kind, and it faded a bit in the wash...I'm not too heartbroken since I got a good deal on them, but this might not be a permanent solution. 
All folded up and ready to go!
Oh, so my laundry woes...I washed the quilt and (gasp!) some of the blues looked distinctly more purple than when I started!  Eek!  I washed it again (and again and again...) with some color catching fabric and this is the result.  I sent a note to the buyer to make sure she washes it separately for the first couple washes.  The blues are back to blue, but my heart stopped a bit at first.  Phew!
All's well that ends well though, and this guy (shown here with a glimpse of the rod sleeve) went in the mail this morning.

Now that that one's out the door, I'm on to a new project.  Here are the squares of batting and backing, and a few choice scraps for border strips that I'm using for my Rag Train quilt:
Here's the final layout, with the upper left corner block done.
Quick picture of the workstation.  A note here...all the fabrics I'm using for this one are from my stash/scraps.  I'm not letting myself buy ANY more material for this - I have more than enough as it is, so I just need to get creative.  :-) If I've made you a quilt in the last year, you'll probably see familiar fabrics in this one.  
And the first two blocks done and sewn together,just to see how it'd work.  I found all manner of scraps from the plaid quilt to use, which I'm totally stoked about.  I adore plaid, especially as it's getting colder, and I think it lends a touch of funky personality to the quilt.  It makes me think of a lumberjack/hipster with a 3 year old who loves trains.  Anyone know anyone like that?  :-D 
So that's that.  Hopefully this one will be up on etsy sometime next week, assuming I get all my chores done so I have time to work on this.  It's going together quickly, but I gotta remember I have other stuff to do wedding thank you notes.  :-) 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

2 Finishes

I had 2 finishes last night!  w00t!

In the order in which they were taken: 

 My work station.  The laptop generally has Hulu streaming on something mindless...I'm thinking I need to start "reading" while I sew though...anyone have suggestions for a cheap audio books site? 
 The back, quilting and tying complete.
 The front, binding on!

A little better shot of the front.  I need to get better at taking nicer pictures of my quilts I think. 
 My second finish, I attempted more artsy stuff...too bad baby gate ~= artsy. 
 The privacy panels we have by the laundry area work a little better.
Sort of.  Anyway, this is the quilt for MOTU's grandmother.  The back is pink & white flowered flannel, and I'll get a picture of it when it's out of the dryer.

Laundry woes I'll save for another post.  Stay tuned.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Design Wall Monday - I Choo Choo Choose You!

First up, a couple glimpses of last week's project, with borders, basted:

The horizontal lines are done...verticals on the docket tonight, with some ties and maybe even some binding (gasp!) and with any luck, I'll have this out the door by Wednesday.
Meanwhile, while sitting in traffic on the way home from work, I decided I needed to make an all-trains quilt.  This one I'm going to attempt to do in a sort of rag-ish style, with flannel on the other sides of these squares.  I'm debating adding a little border around each one to give it a sort of I Spy feel (and to do a little QAYG), but I haven't decided yet.  It'll be up on Etsy as soon as it's done.  I'm hoping to get a few throw-sized quilts done in the next month or two so I can have some stuff up in time for the holidays.  Fingers crossed. 
And what you can't see in the above picture is this little thing:
She was keeping me good company.  Then I kicked her out to go to bed, and she just beelined right for, well, bed.  Nice try, pup.  What's really funny here is how close the kitty is...this never happens in our house!  Laziness is the great equalizer.
So that's it for today...nothing terribly exciting, but still stuff worth mentioning.  It was a long weekend and I got less done than I'd hoped, but at least I got stuff done.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A few more steps

Just a couple more pictures of the commissioned work.

All the squares are cut, just waiting on that train panel.
getting the idea of how the blue frames will look.

Upper left corner is done!  I also appliqued the N, but I don't think I like it.  The background fabric is too busy and noisy for the N to come through enough.  I think I'm just going to find some basic solids or subtle prints to do the letters on, instead of this.  Regardless, progress is being made!  w00t!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Design Legitimate Wall Monday

Omg, can you believe it?  I not only have a design wall, but this week I legitimately have something up there!  Like, it's really up there right now!  I didn't finish it last night, I didn't keep going with it past the stage of the picture, what you see is exactly how it looks in my room right now!  Aren't you so proud?  Lol.


This week's project is...drumroll first official commissioned work!  Legitimately!  A stranger contacted me on Etsy and asked me to make a wall quilt for her two boys' bedroom, incorporating trains and tractors as the main themes and cars and planes as the subthemes.  It's sort of an interpretation of my Window Pane I Spy quilt from last year. 

Here's the overall design:
She wanted her boys' initials incorporated as well, so I'm appliqueing them onto a fabric that's too "busy" to make into an I Spy block (you'll see in a minute) of each theme.
 Here are some of the I Spy squares I had in my stash when she requested the quilt.
 Friday night after a quick trip to Joann's and a first attempt at applique. The scrunching is because the stabilizer wasn't pinned (lesson learned) and that bottom corner was nekkid.  This is, more or less the idea of how the top of the quilt will look.  The brown will be light blue though, per customer (I have a customer!) desire.
After a trip to Yankee Pride Quilt store in Essex Junction, VT on Saturday, I had a few more squares.  I'm waiting on a train panel I found on eBay to come in, and a few more squares from other fabrics I found on there, then I can start with the stitching. 

So that's the big project this week.  I still need to put binding on the complicated quilt (which still doesn't have a better name than that right now), which I'm sure I'll do this week.